A Modest Proposal to Screw Our Way Out of Racial Strife
Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives. August 3, 1967, Vol. XII, No. 42
Solving the Race Problem: The Copulative Approach By Josh Greenfeld
While the riots, rebellions, rumbles -- call them what you will -- rage these hot weeks, I read all the newspapers and magazines watch the TV newsreels and discussions, and I'm able to snatch but one small grim solace of amusement out of it all: The constant obstinacy and reluctance in facing the obvious solution by both white power politicians in Washington and black power champions in Newark. Out of Washington comes the usual talk of a crash program in new housing or a massive aid program to deal with Negro unemployment; out of Newark came bravado talk of a black state and a black party. However, it is a tragic-comedy index of our infantility as a nation, our immaturity as a people, that no important "respectable" leader of either establishment has publically suggested the simple, but ultimately eventual solution: the commingling of the races through acts of sexual congress and the admixtures of white and Negro and Puerto Rican and Indian bloods that would inevitably result.
Toynbee, of course, has pointed out that a drastic mixture of races is not only man's fate but offers man his only salvation on an international level; and it holds no less true on the domestic scene. Indeed, it would offer an excellent starting point. I propose, therefore, massive interracial unions -- perhaps even offering subsidies of sorts in backward areas; I suggest crash programs to dilute any illusions of purity -- or superiority -- held by any racial or ethnic strain. Such programs will take time to bear fruit but not any longer than would be required to provide better housing, better schooling, better job opportunities for present under-privileged racial minorities; and in fact, there is no reason why they could not operate concurrently. But certainly it is hoped that once problems of poverty are detached from labels of race -- as they will be in the new mixed society -- they can be dealt with more directly and conclusively. Indeed, many ideologies will lose their protective colorations and will have to change or adapt themselves to the new reality.
Refusals to come to grips with this ultimate solution, the insistence upon ignoring it by the official establishments, in no way discredits or disproves it, but rather serves to indicate the racist virulence -- or neurotic defense mechanisms -- that still reside deep-rootedly within the psyches of both white liberals and black radicals. White power and black power are all soluble through sexual power and we might as well admit it and proceed from there. The Negroes' oft-neglected past is just as much a crock as the white man's oft-exposed history and can be just as tyrannously and sentimentally delimiting. Being black is just as partial and incomplete a part of the continually evolving human experience as being white or yellow or aquamarine.
The suggestion I make, I know, is utterly un-original. But what dismays me, I must repeat, is that no leader -- whether a Bobby Kennedy or a Nelson Rockefeller or an Adam Clayton Powell or a Stokely Carmichael -- has seriously presented it as a matter for public forum and decision. For no matter how worldly and sophisticated, no matter how diverse and controversial their poses, they all seem to wear the same parochially ideological uniforms issued by the same official unreality -- only their ranks and outfits are different.
We must think -- and act -- on a grander scale, on bigger and broader terms. We can no longer afford to bare ourselves only up to that point where we might truly begin to reveal ourselves. We must forcibly restructure and reformulate the problem before us: It is not the unfinished revolution of a race in America but the uncompleted evolution of a species on our planet that is at stake.
The cry of "Make Love," I think, is perhaps a lot less picturesque and a lot more practical than it seems.
[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.